Residential density: 4,500 people per km2

Greater London – the area within the M25 ring road – has a residential density of over 4,500 people per km2 – only a quarter of the average density of Tokyo. Almost half (46%) of Greater London consists of open and recreational space, including the royal parks. Some of the most dense and affluent neighbourhoods are composed of townhouses or mansion blocks designed around landscaped squares (some still in private ownership) in Chelsea, Earl’s Court and Lancaster Gate. Most of London’s housing stock is made up of two- and three-storey terraced housing with small gardens.

The city’s ‘urban villages’ – such as Hampstead, Greenwich and Chiswick  – create clusters of higherdensity development near transport hubs. Now that London’s Green Belt, established in 1943, has been reconfirmed as an urban growth boundary, the city must become denser rather than more dispersed. High-rise, high-density office and residential complexes have developed around existing and new transport centres, particularly along the River Thames, including London Bridge, Bermondsey and Canary Wharf. The emerging shape of the city’s skyline is an ongoing focus of debate, with new clusters of taller buildings being planned in the financial district of the City of London and around transport hubs such as Victoria and London Bridge stations.

Project: London 2012 Olympic and Patralympic Games and regeneration of the lower Lea Valley

The Lower Lea Valley is a derelict area of East London which is being transformed in preparation for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The project will regenerate one of poorest parts of the UK, and is concentrated around a new 500-acre park, the Stratford City development and the new Stratford International Station, where high-speed trains from the Channel Tunnel will arrive.